A valence is a positive or negative event. The valence of an event often is colored by our emotional memories of similar events. We store emotional memories with other details of the event and these can influence future appraisals.

In psychology, a "valence" refers to the positive or negative emotional value that people attach to stimuli or events.

Valence can be thought of as a continuum ranging from negative (unpleasant or aversive) to positive (pleasant or rewarding). Here are some examples of valence in different contexts:

  • Emotions: Different emotions can be associated with different valences. For example, sadness is typically associated with negative valence, while joy is associated with positive valence.

  • Attitudes: People can hold positive or negative attitudes towards various objects, people, or ideas. These attitudes are typically influenced by the valence associated with them. For example, someone who has a positive attitude towards exercise is likely to associate exercise with positive valence.

  • Decision-making: Valence can also play a role in decision-making. People tend to choose options that they associate with positive valence and avoid options associated with negative valence.

Similar concepts in psychology include:

  • Arousal: This refers to the degree of physiological activation or stimulation associated with an emotion or event. Arousal can be high or low, regardless of whether the valence is positive or negative.

  • Mood: A person's mood is their general emotional state, which can be positive or negative. Mood is typically longer-lasting than emotions, which are more short-lived and specific to particular events or stimuli.

  • Emotion regulation: This refers to the strategies that people use to manage their emotions. Emotion regulation can involve changing the valence of emotions (e.g., trying to see the positive side of a negative situation), or changing the intensity of emotions (e.g., using relaxation techniques to reduce arousal).

Overall, valence is an important aspect of emotion and cognition, and can influence people's attitudes, decision-making, and overall well-being.

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